First off: You need a Linzer cookie cutter set like the one below. They consist of one larger, scalloped round cutter, with an array of differently shaped inserts. I'm sure a crafty person could make do with a round cutter and a bunch of tiny ones, but the Linzer cutter sets are pretty fun. The tiny inserts are good for creating marzipan shapes to decorate the tops of cupcakes, too.
After obtaining your cookie cutter set you need to find a recipe. The one I use is quite simple:
1cup Butter, mostly melted
1tsp. Orange Extract (Almond Extract is good, too)
2 cups cake (or regular) flour
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar + 1tbsp. or so
1 jar Raspberry, Blackberry, Apricot, Apple, or really any kind of Jam
- Mix butter, orange extract, and 1/2 cup sugar.
-Stir in flour 1 cup at a time
-Stick in fridge for at least two hours
If your dough comes out of the fridge hard as a rock, you can nuke it in the microwave for about ten seconds.
At this point you want to preheat your oven to 350.
After lightly greasing two cookie sheets, split dough in half and roll into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Use the Linzer cookie cutters without the insert on the first piece of dough. Please forgive my ratty looking pans. They're all that fit inside the Holly Hobby stove.
For the second half of the dough you will be using the inserts. I've chosen star, bat, and pumpkin shaped inserts for my cookies. Just so you know, though, the pumpkins were cute only in theory. They look sort of vague and blobulous in actuality.
Place all cookies on your cookie sheets, and pop those little shapes out if they stick. Keep a couple of the inserts to use as garnish if you like. They bake at the same rate as the cookies themselves.
Stick cookies into preheated oven and bake for 12 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
Take aside the cookies with shapes in them, and sprinkle with remaining powdered sugar. I've found that a mesh tea ball does this job well.
Take cookies without shapes in them and dot with jam. The jam is half the point of these cookies, so be sure to choose one that's good quality. Also, think about what goes best with the kind of extract you used.
Place powdered cookies on top of jam dotted cookies.
And you've got a Linzer cookie. These are totally worth the time it takes to make them. They taste great and are lovely to look at. These cookies keep very well, too. They actually taste better the next day, as the jam and cookie flavors have had time to meld together.